COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Kroger has released some information it said is included in the last offer rejected by the union representing central Ohio store associates, including a $1.80 pay raise over the life of the contract.
According to a press release Saturday, the grocery giant said the average cashier would see a 65-cent raise this year, a 50-cent raise in 2023, and another 65-cent raise in 2024, the last year of the proposed three-year contract. For a full-time cashier with five years of experience, their salary is currently $17.10 an hour, the company said.
Additionally, Kroger said it will increase starting pay to $14.25 an hour; offer a $2,500 ratification bonus, upon approval of the contract, to all department heads, assistant department heads, and full-time top rate associates; and give department leaders and assistant department leaders an additional 35 cents an hour in February 2023.
Kroger said the new wages would cost the company $120 million over the three years.
Late last week, Randy Quickel, president of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union Local 1059, the union representing Kroger employees, said in a statement the union asked Kroger to come back to the negotiating table.
Wages are believed to be the major sticking point in negotiations. In its message to workers, the union also said what comes next is “in Kroger’s hands.”
“Strike preparation and planning has already been underway since Kroger characterized their proposal as a ‘Last Best Final Offer.’ Please prepare for that possibility,” the email read.
Additionally, Kroger claims union members pay $141 a month for family medical benefits, saying the average for workers in Ohio is $408.
On Friday, the union representing Kroger employees, the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union Local 1059, announced 80 percent of members in the Columbus division authorize a strike.
The tentative agreement, voted on last week by 6,700 union members, was the third offer proposed by the grocer. Both Kroger and the union recommended members accept the offer, but 55 percent of members rejected it.
According to the UFCW, 82 stores and 12,500 workers fall within the Columbus division.
Messages to both the union and Kroger spokespeople left during the weekend were not returned.
Kroger posted the full offer on its website. It can be viewed below.